Review and Co-Construct Class Rules of Conduct

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Every classroom and every teacher has different rules about acceptable behaviors. These can range from technology usage and hand raising to in class chatter. At the beginning of a semester you have an opportunity to review current rules and introduce new ones!

Socrative Short Answer is a great way to ask:

When should you raise your hand?

What do you do when you need to use the bathroom?

What should you do when other students are speaking?

What should you do when the teacher is speaking?

When are you allowed to speak to the person next to you?

When is it okay to use technology?

Let students work in pairs to reflect on acceptable behaviors.

Project the answers onto the board anonymously, so that everyone feels free to participate. Highlight themes and build a collective responsibility to meet everyone’s goals. With Socrative Short Answer,  you can even download a report of the rules at the end of the activity.


With some extra time left in class, you can group students into teams, assigning a rule to each. Every group makes a poster that represents the rule using diagrams, words, or pictures. Each student then presents their poster and hangs them on the wall to refer to for the next few weeks.

Create Virtual Time Capsules for 2016/17

Time Capsule

In third grade, my classmates and I brought a wide range of items to school that signified the time in which we were living.  There was a black Sony walkman with padded headphones, a GI Joe figure, a Hartford Courant newspaper, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Messy Room” and a video cassette of Goonies. Yes, 1986 was a glorious time. At the end of the school year we all stood around a big hole behind school and buried our keepsakes so that they might be unearthed by a future generation.
My daydreaming about this fond memory sparked an idea.

Weekly VIRTUAL Time Capules

The process of selecting an item to put in a class time capsule helps students to form an idea of the overarching thought or feeling of the time, it necessitates decision-making and it creates an indelible memory (as my experience at Martin Elementary did!)
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Socrative PRO has launched








The countdown is over for the launch of the new premium version of our classroom engagement app, Socrative! Users from around the world have already jumped on board to be the first to experience the new functionality.

Socrative PRO gives you everything you love about the free app plus a heap of awesome new features to help you personalize learning, amp up engagement, and work formative assessment magic. Thinking about upgrading? Here’s five reasons why you’ll love Socrative PRO.

Multiple Rooms

Each Socrative PRO account allows you to have 10 unique activity rooms. Run quizzes, polls, exit tickets, or Space Races at the same time to better manage multiple classes, remote and blended learning, and differentiated instruction. Create a room for each of your classes, divide students into groups, or assign homework activities—or do it all!

More Students

Large class, PTA meeting, or district-wide training on the horizon? No problem. You can accommodate up to 150 students in Socrative PRO rooms. With three times the student capacity of the free app, Socrative PRO is perfect for conferences, professional development, and grade-level assessments.

Secure Rostering

Save time and energy by uploading class rosters straight from a CSV or Excel file  into Socrative PRO (or enter rosters manually, if you’d prefer). Restrict access to your rostered classrooms by requiring students to enter their personal ID number. And students will save time; they’re only required to enter their ID once into rostered rooms for immediate and future access.

Space Race Timer

Set the timer to have your Space Race end automatically. You can then more freely move around the classroom to answer questions, listen to students, and interact with the class.

More Features Coming this Fall

We’ll be rolling out new premium features to Socrative PRO users in the coming months. What should you expect? Well, instant quiz sharing, a searchable quiz community, and a silent hand raise feature—just to name a few. And you’ll soon get the ability to upload your own icon for a personalized Space Race experience (what will you race?!?).

Whether you’re a seasoned Socrative aficionado or you’re just discovering the formative assessment app, you’ll want to check out all the great new features you’ll get when you upgrade to Socrative PRO.

Back-Channeling with Socrative

What’s a Back Channel? Through a virtual room such as those available in Socrative, students may pose questions or comments regarding the material at hand in real-time, which the teacher may use to drive teaching and discussion. Classroom collaboration thus extends beyond segments of teaching followed by discussion, seamlessly melding the two, fostering participation and engagement.  Often done silently, it helps maintain class control while igniting and furthering collaboration.

Socrative short answer as a Back Channel!

Mr Vernon, a 6th grade Earth Science teacher wants to engage students during his overview lecture on plate tectonics. However, he has a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time. He turns to Socrative Short Answer to create a backchannel room so that students may submit questions throughout class.  It’s preset at anonymous but he likes to turn on the name feature for added accountability and the opportunity to directly support individual students. He also allows students to submit multiple times.

He asks students to “Surface questions or comments about this material”

In the last fifteen minutes of class, Mr. Vernon projects the questions and comments on the board and answers those that are the most common. Students learn what their peers are thinking and can compare it to their own understanding.  Mr. Vernon appreciates how he can clear up any areas of misunderstanding before the class ends.  In addition, he often adjusts homework as a result. Lastly, he downloads the Socrative report and reflects after class on how he could improve upon his class for next time.


Uncovering and Connecting Passions: Thinking Routine

everything is possibleCapturing and uncovering the passion and intrinsic motivation of 21st century learners is difficult.  The tools students utilize in their free time are often not allowed in schools and the speed of change is whizzing by us. Furthermore, the divide between school activities and home life pursuits is often extreme.  More and more students are asking the question “why do I need to know this”.

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Making Thinking Visible – Headlines Routine

Big News
Project Zero, an educational research group at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, has been working to enhance student learning, thinking and creativity since the 1960s. Founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman it’s impacted global education and been guided by such education luminaries as Howard Gardner and David Perkins.
Utilizing it’s core concepts and adding a dash of Socrative will bolster student reflection, critical thinking, and creativity while developing independent learners for the 21st century.
Let’s Dig In!

What are Visible Thinking Routines?

At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible:Thinking Routines loosely guide learners’ thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. (

Visible Thinking Routine 1 – HEADLINES 

This routine draws on the idea of newspaper-type headlines as a vehicle for summing up and capturing the essence of an event, idea, concept, topic, etc.

Activity Flow with Socrative
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Helping Students Explore Ideas and Make a Stance – Compass Points

Light BulbThinking Routines are a constant source of interest and excitement as I explore  Socrative use cases.  In this particular occasion I was seeking a routine to help students evaluate current events, political decisions and school policies.  How could we structure a way to help students explore the topic and then eventually formulate arguments for making decisions or choosing a pathway?

For example, the school may be considering the idea of banning food in class, a character in a book might be confronted with a difficult personal decision, or a politician might be suggesting a change to a town policy.

Use these four directions from Project Zero’s Compass Points:

E = Excited

What excites you about this idea or proposition? What’s the upside?

W = Worrisome

What do you find worrisome about this idea or proposition? What’s the downside?

N = Need to Know

What else do you need to know or find out about this idea or proposition? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?

S = Stance or Suggestion for Moving Forward

What is your current stance or opinion on the idea or proposition? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this idea or proposition?

How to use with Socrative?

Socrative Short Answer – Ask one of the questions and have students respond at the same time.  Project all the responses and lead a discussion.  It’s your choice if you’d like to have it be anonymous or show their names.

Exit Ticket – End the class by asking students to work their way through all four points as they head out the door.  Review them after class to see how the students’ thinking has progressed.

Extension – Put the activity report on your class blog or website for all to see and offer feedback.  Once again, it’s your choice if it’s anonymous or not.

If you’d like to use this routine, import the below SOC # and it’s yours!


Learn more at

Jigsaw your way to Collaboration with Socrative

Collaborative learning has many benefits:

  • Develops higher level thinking skills
  • Builds self-esteem in students
  • Improves oral communication skills
  • Enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience

Puzzle PiecesYet fear of losing classroom control and creating gaps in content coverage can often cause teachers to back off and resort to a didactic teacher led approach.
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The 5Ws and H – Questions, Questions, Questions!


The infamous 5Ws and H have been an integral part of journalism, storytelling and an uncountable number of TV police dramas, (Law and Order being the best, of course).  

5Ws and H Table

Additionally, for years this structure has been helping students ask targeted questions as they dig deeper into factual information and uncover truths.  In the 21st century, this routine is more versatile and as important as ever. It’s at the core of problem solving in the office place, evaluating what’s what in cyberspace, and identifying causal relationships.

Whether an ELL teacher or a physics teacher, you’ll encounter numerous opportunities to cultivate your students’ abilities to mine for information, make sense of it, and then arrive at conclusions. So let’s support the development and acquisition of these cross-disciplinary skills through whole class discussion, practice and guided examples.

Build Understanding as a Class – Implementation Ideas


Use the Short Answer and Multiple Choice features to ask questions of the whole class and deconstruct each W and H together. Have students respond in complete sentences and then collaboratively decide which answers are the best and discuss why. 

Use the Short Answer Voting Feature to narrow the class’ choices and focus on reasoning. Ask students why they like their choices and identify the key criteria in a student defined rubric.  Continue the discussion into the other components of the routine.  

Create 2 to 3 question Quizzes for post reading assignments, experiments and research. Ask for different components of the routine each time as you put the 6 pieces together over time.  These can be either multiple choice, short response or a combination of the two. Have students work in small groups or pairs and discuss their choices.

Design a 5Ws and H quiz for easy and frequent use to check understanding and create discussion.

Reminder: How to make your own “Quiz” activity

Log into your account -> Click “Manage Quizzes” -> “Create a Quiz

Design the Quiz and select Save & Exit

The Quiz will now be available in your My Quizzes menu.

Share the SOC # with your community


3 Engaging Uses of Open Response Questioning

Short Answer

One of our favorite features is Quick Question – Short Answer.  With a few quick clicks, you can use short answer to ask a question, then gather, visualize and discuss a whole class’s open responses.  You could even have students VOTE on the responses!  

1. Gather Student Questions:

As students settle into their seats have them enter a question based on last night’s homework or your current unit.  You can quickly clear up any misunderstanding before moving on to that day’s agenda. By enabling each student to respond, you can see common questions that are applicable to a larger number of students. Use the VOTE feature to have them prioritize what you answer!

Remember – student questions project anonymously, but you can toggle on “show name” and also have a report afterward which tells who said what.  Overall, students are less fearful of asking a question anonymously.

This is also a great tool to use at the end of class. As students start to pack up, open a short answer to gather any points of confusion to incorporate into your plan for the next day, or ask a question based on that day’s content to see what your students have learned!

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2. Vocabulary

In every class, there are key vocabulary items that students need to master. Pose a vocabulary word in short answer and ask students to use that word in a sentence, or respond with the definition. Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.17.36 AM

3. Foreign Language

There are multiple ways to allow students to show their understanding in a second language classroom.

– Present students with a sentence and ask them to translate

– Present students with a sentence and ask them to write a follow-on sentence

– Have students use a key vocabulary term in a sentence (verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.)


How Quick Question – Short Answer Works:

1. From your Teacher Dashboard select “Quick Question”

2. Select the “Short Answer” on the right

3. Type a Question into the text field (optional)

4. Choose whether you would like a SINGLE or UNLIMITED responses from your Students

5. Choose whether you would like students to be ANONYMOUS or REQUIRE their name. (Either way, all responses initially display on your screen anonymously)  

6. Select start!

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